What’s Stopping People from Buying Electric Cars?

  • With a background in journalism and marketing, I’m passionate about writing stories that connect people to the world of automotive. I currently work as a marketing researcher for Autotrader and Kelley Blue Book. When I’m not crafting content about the automotive industry, you can find me making music, reading, and writing creatively.

can be reached at elizabeth.saulsbury@coxautoinc.com
  • With a background in journalism and marketing, I’m passionate about writing stories that connect people to the world of automotive. I currently work as a marketing researcher for Autotrader and Kelley Blue Book. When I’m not crafting content about the automotive industry, you can find me making music, reading, and writing creatively.

can be reached at elizabeth.saulsbury@coxautoinc.com
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The time is right for electric vehicles.

Our society is arguably more conscious of the environment than ever before, and it’s common knowledge that electric vehicles contribute to a healthier planet. Additionally, EVs are becoming more sophisticated, boasting a myriad of innovative technologies that improve the driving experience.

This begs the question: if electric cars are so great, why aren’t more people buying them?

Cox Automotive (the parent company of this website) recently released the latest installment of an ongoing “Evolution of Mobility” study. This newest piece of research, entitled “The Path to Electric Vehicle Adoption,” explores shoppers’ perceptions of EVs and barriers to purchase. It also proposes solutions for increasing consumer confidence in electric vehicles.

“It’s going to take a top-down approach from manufacturers to the dealership to increase education and overcome consumers’ barriers to adopting EVs,” said Rachelle Petusky, Manager of Research for Cox Automotive Mobility.

According to the study, there are two very clear beliefs that keep drivers from going electric: EVs are perceived to be more expensive than gas-powered vehicles, and EVs’ batteries and charging capabilities are perceived to be problematic.

It’s interesting to note that both of these perceptions are just that: perceptions. In actuality, it costs less to own and operate an electric vehicle than a gas-powered one. The average 5-year cost-to-operate savings – which includes expenses like Fuel, insurance, financing, state fees, maintenance, and repairs – is positive for EV drivers.

Slide illustrating the cost-to-operate savings of electric cars

As for perceptions about EV batteries, consumers have reservations both about the costs of replacing a battery pack, and the mileage range that EV batteries offer.

But the price of an average EV battery pack has decreased 77% from 2010-2016, and is expected to drop an additional 45% by 2021. Additionally, federal regulations mandate that EV manufacturers offer a minimum 8-year/100K mile warranty on batteries, providing peace of mind to EV adopters.

People who are considering EVs want mileage ranges that are comparable to that of gas-powered cars. And the good news is, the ranges of various electrified models are rising to meet those expectations.

“Automotive lithium ion batteries have benefitted from innovation by both significantly decreasing the cost, but also increasing the range,” Petusky pointed out.

Slide that displays the ranges of various electric vehicles and how they have improved over time

Here are some other interesting things the research revealed.

Consumers believe that widespread electric vehicle usage is coming, but that hasn’t increased their interest in buying one. 

Most consumers agree that there will be a significant increase in EVs on the road in the next five years. But consideration of electric vehicles hasn’t increased. Possibly, consumers are waiting to see how the cost and battery capabilities of electric vehicles play out before making the switch.

In order for electric vehicle adoption to increase, public charging infrastructure has to improve. 

The study revealed that the majority of people who are considering an EV for their next car believe that there are too few charging stations around the areas where they live and work.

But there are some possible solutions to the current public charging infrastructure that go beyond simply installing more stations. For example, what if instead of driving to a charging station, the charging station came to you? The majority of people who are considering an EV, as well as current EV drivers, are interested in this type of mobile service.

Another future solution that could enhance the current battery infrastructure is a robotic charging station that locates a vehicle, plugs it in, and charges it without any human interaction. Here too, most considerers and current EV owners indicate that they would be interested in using it.

Electric vehicle charging

Are you ready to go electric?

Is an electric vehicle in your universe of possibilities for your next car purchase? If not, why?

If you are concerned about the price of an EV or have reservations about the lifespan and range of its batteries, rest assured that EVs have become much more friendly to drivers’ wallets and travel needs – and will likely continue to become even more so. New mobile-centric solutions could also improve cities’ public charging offerings, which means that EVs will be more accessible and convenient to everyone.

Visit Ride’s Electric and Hybrid section to learn more about EVs, hybrids, charging, electric cars’ impact on the environment, and more.


About the Author

  • With a background in journalism and marketing, I’m passionate about writing stories that connect people to the world of automotive. I currently work as a marketing researcher for Autotrader and Kelley Blue Book. When I’m not crafting content about the automotive industry, you can find me making music, reading, and writing creatively.

can be reached at elizabeth.saulsbury@coxautoinc.com
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